Report of the Belgian team

 

Visit from March 18 – March 25 2017

 

Again a Belgian team, consisting of four surgeons (Marc Huyghe, Casper Sommeling, Veronique De Moor and Stijn Heyman) and two residents (Evelien De Witte and Vicky Dhooghe) visited Takoradi in Ghana. The mission is short of direct sponsoring, so the team-members did finance this mission themselves apart from some sponsoring by the Lions Club of Waregem. We got indirect sponsoring as we were delivered meshes (Mr. Oppong meshes aka MROP-meshes from England and BBraun meshes from Belgium), gloves (Medline), disposable drapes (Mölnlycke Belgium and Medline) and suture material (Johnson & Johnson). Local anesthetics were donated by Bbraun; again lidocaine with adrenaline and heavy Marcaine was donated by Operation Hernia

 

We arrived with Brussels Airlines Saturday late afternoon at Kotoka airport, where a lot of reconstruction works are taken place. After a 3 hour drive we arrived at the Kosa Beach resort and stayed our first night there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kosa beach resort

 

 

Sunday afternoon we drove to Takoradi, where we stayed in a hotel (aka as the Chinese Hotel) for the first time in the nine years of our missions.

 

During the week we again enjoyed the hospitality of Gina Loupiac in her Gilou’s restaurant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghana food

 

Also this year Bernard Boateng-Duah organized the operation programs before in collaboration with the local hospital teams, so we could immediately start our operations early Monday morning.

 

During the week we were organised in three teams that rotated in the three different hospitals (Hernia Wing, GPHA and Dixcove). In total 89 patients, of which twelve children, where operated. Again most of the patients presented with groin hernias, which are still larger, than normally encountered in our hospitals. The local hospital teams are very motivated to help the local patients and to support us in doing our work. The level of care of the nurse-anesthetics in the three hospitals is high.

Head-nurse Stella, although retired, managed to be at Dixcove Hospital for four days to meet and support us

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nurse Stella at Dixcove Hospital

 

The equipment in the hospitals is of a reasonable level, but structural changes still should be made to the operation theatres, especially at the Takoradi Hospital Hernia Wing, that needs a “make over”. For this moment there is running water in the Dixcove Hospital, but adjustments should be made for the power supply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dixcove Hospital: the Spanish sterilizer has been unpacked, water supply connected, but no current jet

 

Our mission was again interesting for our two residents who could perform operations in adults, but also in children. Our residents were also able to assist some ceasarian sections with the local surgeons and even could perform one themselves.

 

On Thursday Stijn Heyman gave a lecture on “abdominal pediatric emergencies” for 15 surgeons and phyisicians, that came from near and far; this lecture was well received. We also could on several occasions teach and assist local physicians in performing the Lichtenstein repair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stijn making friends

 

On Saturday morning we left Takoradi and visited El Mina Castle, the center of the former slave trade. It always is a very impressing place, for recognizing the long standing connection between Africa, Europe and the Americas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit at the El Mina Castle

 

 

After that we we drove back eastbound to Kotoka airport to leave for Europe again.

 

Conclusion: a rewarding mission, not only for the surgeons, but also again for our residents, who were able to perform challenging operations in challenging circumstances; again the future developments will to have been awaited for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Belgian team at the Hernia Wing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Belgian team at El Mina Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Oppong securing his future?

 

Casper Sommeling, on behalf of the

Belgian team

 

Report of the Belgian Team Visit to Takoradi, Ghana March 12–19, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After skipping our 2015 Mission because of the Ebola threat, in March 2016 a Belgian team, consisting of four surgeons (Marc Huyghe, Casper Sommeling, Veronique De Moor and Stijn Heyman) and one resident (Magali Blockhuys) again visited Takoradi in Ghana. Our main financial sponsor still is the Belgian Section of Abdominal Wall Surgery, but also the Lions Club of Waregem supported us financially. We brought meshes (Mr. Oppong meshes aka MROP-meshes from England and BBraun meshes from Belgium), gloves (Medline), disposable drapes (Mölnlycke Belgium and Medline) and suture material (Johnson & Johnson). Local anesthetics were donated by BBraun; this time lidocaine with adrenaline and heavy marcaine were supplied by Operation Hernia

 

Arriving at Kotoka airport with Brussels Airlines on the Saturday, late afternoon, we were pleasantly surprised by the new facilities in the arrival hall, which shortened the check-in procedures. After a 3 hour drive we arrived at the Kosa Beach resort and stayed our first night there.

 

On the Sunday afternoon we drove to Takoradi, where as in 2014 we stayed in a private house. During the week we again enjoyed the hospitality of Gina Loupiac at her Gilou's restaurant

 

Also this year Dr Bernard Boateng-Duah organized the operation programs beforehand in collaboration with the local hospital teams, so we could immediately start our operations early on the Monday morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Belgian Surgical Team at the Hernia Wing of Takoradi Hospital

During the week we were organised into three teams that rotated in the three different hospitals (Hernia Wing, GPHA and Dixcove). In total 92 patients, of which twelve were children, where operated. Again most of the patients presented with groin hernia.

 

The first patient operated in the GPHA hospital on Monday morning was the patient in which we performed a Hartmann’s procedure with a temporary colostomy in 2014 due to colonic necrosis. Restoration of the bowel continuity was performed and the postoperative course was uneventfull.

 

The motivation of the local hospital teams was very good and the level of care of the nurse-anesthetists in the three hospitals was high. The first evening Marc and Magali sustained by the enthusiastic team of Marian at the Hernia Wing worked until 11.00 p.m. to get the selected patients done. The last patient that evening had a giant sliding (sigmoid) hernia, a recurrence after a Lichtenstein procedure some years before.

 

The equipment in the hospitals is of a reasonable level, but structural changes should be made to the operation theatres. There still is the problem of lack of running water in the Dixcove Hospital.

 

Our mission was certainly interesting for our resident who could perform several operations in both adults and children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit to the Metropolitan Coordinating Director

On Saturday morning we first visited the Takoradi harbour currently in a phase of new developments and where big changes are taking place. Then we were received by the Metropolitan Coordinating Director in his private house in the beautiful hills in Sekondi. He thanked us on behalf of the local government for our mission and explained that the local government this year supported us regarding transport and food. Following that we we drove back eastbound to Kotoka airport in Accrea to leave for Europe again.

 

Conclusion: This was again a very rewarding mission; the future developments will to have be awaited for.

 

Casper Sommeling, on behalf of the Belgian team

Report of the Belgian – Italian team.

 

Visit to Takoradi from March 15 – March 23, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In March 2014 a team of four Belgian surgeons (Myriam Bruggeman, Paul Van Acker, Marc Huyghe and Casper Sommeling), one registrar (Stijn Heyman) one nurse (Pina Orlando), accompanied by an Italian surgeon (Cecilia Ceribelli) again visited Takoradi in Ghana. Our main financial sponsor is still the Belgian Section of Abdominal Wall Surgery. We brought meshes (kindly donated by Medri, Covidien Belgium, Bard Italy and Assut Europe), gloves (Medline), disposable drapes (Mölnlycke Belgium and Medline) and suture materials (Johnson & Johnson). Resterilized polypropylene meshes and so called “Indian meshes” were also taken. Local anaesthetics, syringes and needles were donated by Bbraun and BD; this time lidocaine with adrenaline and heavy marcaine were donated by Operation Hernia and bought for us in Ghana.

 

After arriving at Accra, late Saturday night, for the second time we stayed at the Ghana Baptist Mission. The following day we made the trip to Takoradi, meanwhile visiting Kosa Beach.

 

This year, thanks to the contacts we have built up in the last years, we stayed in a private house, where we were taken care of by Gina Loupiac. She also owns a very good restaurant in Takoradi and managed to provide us with three meals a day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the week we organised three teams

 

that rotated in the three different hospitals (Hernia Wing, GPHA and Dixcove). In total 81 patients, of which six were children, where operated on. Again most of the patients presented with groin hernias. To our surprise in one patient with bilateral inguinal hernias, a volvulus of the sigmoid was found with necrosis, so a Hartmann’s procedure with a temporary colostomy had to be performed. Reversal of the colostomy is planned in November 2014, when Chris Oppong will visit Takarodi. After our return to Belgium we collected colostomy bags and other materials and sent them to Bernard Boateng to support this patient

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The motivation of the local hospital teams is good and the level of care by the nurse-anesthetists in the three hospitals is high. The equipment in the hospitals is of a reasonable level, but structural changes should be made to the operating theatres. There is still the problem with the lack of running water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday evening we had our usual dinner with Bernard Boateng Duah and his wife at the the “Gilou” restaurant. Bernard explained to us that also in Takoradi the support of the project is questioned.

 

On Saturday morning we again visited the Takoradi harbour which is in a phase of new developments. Afterwards we drove to Kosa Beach again and stayed one night at this beach resort. On Sunday afternoon we drove back eastbound to Kotoka airport to leave for Europe again.

 

Conclusion: again a rewarding mission; the future developments are eagerly awaited.

 

Casper Sommeling, on behalf of the Belgian - Italian Mission

Report of the Belgian – Italo - Dutch team.

 

Visit from March 9 – March 17 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In March 2013 a team of four Belgian surgeons (Myriam Bruggeman, Paul Van Acker, Marc Huyghe and Casper Sommeling) accompanied by an Italian surgeon (Cecilia Ceribelli), two registrars (Stijn Heyman from Belgium and Annelien Morks from the Netherlands) and a Belgian nurse (Pina Orlando) again visited Takoradi in Ghana. Our main financial sponsor still is the Belgian Section of Abdominal Wall Surgery. We brought meshes (kindly donated by Medri, Covidien Belgium, Bard Italy and Assut Europe), gloves (Cardinal Health/Medline), disposable drapes (Mölnlycke Belgium and Medline) and suture material (Johnson & Johnson). Resterilized polypropylene meshes and so called “Indian meshes” made part of our luggage. Local anesthetics, syringes and needles were donated by Bbraun an BD; only the lidocaine with adrenaline and heavy Marcain was bought by us in Belgium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This way for Hernia Operation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recovery

 

After arriving at Accra, late Saturday night, for the first time we stayed at the Ghana Baptist Mission. The following Sunday we made the trip to Takoradi, meanwhile visiting Kosa Beach.

 

Again “the girls” (Kate, Linda and Benedicte) took good care of us, although they had more difficulties than the years before due to the frequent power cuts. They even proposed us to switch to a hotel, but their “candle light suppers” were much appreciated by us. This year we were lucky to meet Brian Dixon again, who was on “holiday” in Takoradi; however this means trouble shooting for him as a second nature, or as he states it “there are no problems, only challenges”. He contributed again to our mission in several ways, mainly on a logistic level, but also on solving local problems. He even might have solved the problem of running water in Dixcove hospital.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul & Brian

 

During the week we organised three teams that rotated in the three different hospitals (Hernia Wing, GPHA and Dixcove). We performed 86 operations in 86 patients, of which nine were children. Again most of the adult patients presented with groin hernias. The total number of operations seems low for the total number of team members but we were plagued by power cuts and interfering caesarean sections. This year in the adult patients two-thirds (51/77) were operated under local anaesthesia, but loco-regional anaesthesia (26/77) was used as a standard in all three locations in the more demanding scrotal hernias, contributing to a better comfort of the patients. The children of course were operated under general anesthesia.

 

The motivation of the local hospital teams is good and the level of care of the nurse-anesthetics in the three hospitals is high. The equipment in the hospitals is of a reasonable level, but the Dixcove Hospital is in need of sharp scissors and new operation gowns. Although with three teams we still made long days, but once again it was rewarding.

 

After a long week hard work we had dinner at the the “Gilou” restaurant Friday night together with Bernard Boateng Duah and his wife. On Saturday we made a trip to Green Turtle Lodge, the nicest place to be at the Atlantic Coast, were again we spent a wonderful day. At Sunday morning our group split up. Marc started on a trip of ten days through Ghana. Paul and Myriam stayed another week in Takoradi for holiday; however they were motivated to operate on the patients that were left over from the first week in the GPHA-hospital, so the first two days of their holiday they operated eleven patients (included in the total of 86).

 

Pina stayed another two weeks in Takoradi to work in the hospital as part of her training to be a specialized nurse. Cecilia, Stijn, Annelien and Casper made the trip back to Accra with a stop at El Mina Castle. Conclusion: again a rewarding mission; if the future team will enclose again as much members as this year we might go to other places in Ghana. We once again want to thank Bernard Boateng for the organization at the local level: selecting the patients on forehand and helping us out during the week.

 

Special thanks to Brian Dixon, just because being there.

 

Casper Sommeling, on behalf of the Belgian - Italo – Dutch Mission